Israel to blame if talks fail over settlements issue: Abbas

Direct talks between Palestinians and Israel are due to resume in the US.

Updated: Aug 30, 2010, 10:07 AM IST

Ramallah: Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas on Sunday said on television that Israel would be to blame if resumed direct talks with Israel failed over the Jewish settlements issue.

"I have to say, and we told all parties including the United States before accepting renewed talks, that the Israeli government will bear sole responsibility of the risk of failure of the talks if settlement activities continue in Palestinian territories occupied in 1967," he said in a speech.

He was speaking on official Palestinian television just four days before direct talks with Israel are due to resume in Washington after they were broken off 20 months ago when Israel launched its deadly offensive on the Gaza Strip.

"In these decisive moments for the history of our region, we hope to find in Israel a partner capable of taking responsible decisions ahead of an end to the occupation, and a true guarantee of security for the Palestinian and Israel peoples," he said.

"We support the need of Israel and our people for security, but this cannot be a pretext to justify settlement activities and taking away other people`s land and rights.”

"Our position on settlement and its illegality has not changed," Abbas said.